ECB loans fail to deter euro reversal - Business Works
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ECB loans fail to deter euro reversal

Richard Driver of Caxton FX The European Central Banks second LTRO, in which it offered more three-year loans at 1.00% to the eurozones struggling banking sector, failed to give the euro the impetus to build on gains it has made in the year to date. The cheap loans have been crucial in avoiding a credit crunch and bringing down peripheral bond yields in recent weeks. Risk appetite has been booming in as a result, but it seems unlikely that this second LTRO, of which demand was similar to last Decembers, will have the same impact. The market saw fit to use the event as an opportunity to take profit on the euros strong start to 2012 and the single currency sold off across board.

The Greek issue continues to peg the euro back. A debt-swap deal must emerge by Thursday evening. Failure to persuade enough private bondholders to accept losses of at least 53.5% on their holdings could result in credit default swaps being triggered and a whole wave of financial turmoil. In addition, Greeces second bailout still hasnt been signed off and a U-turn remains possible. Greek nerves are likely to steadily build this week.

Concerns outside of Greece have also added to the weight being felt by the euro. Spain has defied the EU by setting a softer deficit target than that agreed under the recent fiscal compact (5.8% rather than 4.4% of GDP).

Economic growth is at the heart of this problem these countries are struggling to cut their debt because austerity measures are strangling output. Recent data revealed that the pace of contraction in the eurozone services sector quickened in February, while unemployment increased.

Februarys growth data suggests firm Q1

The pace of growth in the UK manufacturing sector slowed in February. The same is true of the UK services sector, while in the construction sector we saw the best monthly posting since April 2011. Still, the markets key concerns focus on whether the UK will head back into recession, whether the MPC will announce further quantitative easing, and whether the UK will lose its AAA credit rating. The growth data from January and February has balanced the risks in favour of a no to all of these questions. As such they should give sterling some underlying support in the coming weeks.

Ben Bernanke indicates QE3 is off the table

A speech from US Federal Reserve Chairman brightened the prospects of the US dollar last week. Bernanke failed to a make any reference to 'QE3' a third programme of quantitative easing. The market took this as a 'clear' indication that the upturn in the US economy in recent months has caused the Fed to step away from the option of more QE. Bernankes 'signal' could well turn out to be the catalyst for the US dollar to reverse the weakness we have seen in the greenback in the first couple of months of this year. Data last week confirmed the reason for optimism with regard to the US, revealing that its economy grew at an impressive annualized pace of 3.0% in Q4 2011.

Sterling is trading back up at €1.20 now, thanks to the euros poor end to last week. Risks remain to upside ahead of the tensions that will inevitably build as a result of the ongoing Greek debt-swap negotiations. We continue to hold the view that with GBP / USD up at $1.5850, this is a strong level at which to sell sterling and buy USD.

End of week forecast
GBP / EUR 1.2075
GBP / USD 1.58
EUR / USD 1.31
GBP / AUD 1.49

Richard Driver is a Currency Market Analyst with Caxton FX and can be contacted via:

This brief is prepared by Caxton FX Ltd for information purposes only and may contain personal views that are not the opinion of the company. This is not an offer to purchase or sell any security or an investment advertisement. Caxton FX Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, although foreign exchange transactions with Caxton FX are regulated by HM Revenue and Customs. This email does not constitute advice for any foreign exchange transaction, nor is it intended as a solicitation for funds or recommendation to trade.

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